Flora and fauna of central Afghanistan

There be rare signs of life in the hills and valleys at the moment. Not that I have a clue what most of it is, so sorry if you’ve been mislead by the title.

Trees! And grass! Oh, glorious greenery! But what type of trees I’ve no idea. Which is a shame, as a story always sounds so much more convincing if you can add those little details.

Like: ‘I twisted the poplar branches into a snare, then sat and waited amongst the geraniums, the croaking of a cane toad the only sound. Two days later, I had caught the elusive snow leopard!’

Instead of:

Lovely twittering little birds. And a bloody great big bird of prey or two.

A small rodent of a creature, pocking its head out of a hole not half a meter from where I sat, wondering what the disturbance was (two brothers arguing about the control of an irrigation canal).

Big black beetles and a little brown frog.

The smells of sage and woormwood crushed underfoot. Least I think that’s what they are.

A bird with blue wings and an orange back, like a kingfisher flying upside down.

I’m sure some Italian botanist must have wondered these hills back in the 1970s and written a book about it, and some British officers must have gone off with butterfly nets and guns to shoot and catch some things other than Afghans during the 19th century. Next time I’m in a library I’ll look for their accounts.

And then of course there are the folks that live here and know what’s what, but when I ask them I get the name of a whatsit in Dari, which doesn’t translate, and makes it a spot tricky when it comes to setting the scene with the poetically precise word for the worm we used to go fishing.

Catching flying fish in Ghor



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One Response to “Flora and fauna of central Afghanistan”

  1. about fauna Says:

    about fauna…

    […]Flora and fauna of central Afghanistan « harry rud[…]…

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